10 little habits to a healthier work day

We all make resolutions. Only to break them. BJ Fogg believes that taking baby steps to forming a habit has huge impacts in changing behavior over time. So what can we do in terms of baby steps toward staying healthy at work and making a habit of it?

Small steps to staying healthy at work and habit formation

Small steps to staying healthy at work and habit formation

1) Start your day with a positive affirmation: Positive affirmations can influence your subconscious mind to actualize what you've been thinking. Here is a great article that can guide you through writing your first affirmation, if you haven't done this before: Affirmations: The Why, What, How, and What If? - Kathryn J Lively

2) Avoid opening 250 tabs on your computer: Work can get stressful and overwhelming. Don't add to it by starting on a zillion tasks at the same time. Focus and complete one task at a time. Need tips and tricks to prioritize and manage your work load? Here is a great article: Feeling Overwhelmed? 6 Ways to Take Control of Your Workload by Christine Reedy

3) Avoid getting sucked into hitting infinite 'likes' on that social networking app: If this is you, you know this can be a huge time suck. Use the time to actually connect with people in your office or better still, maybe you can try for the social media manager role for your workplace! Need to know how to get tactical about this one? Check this article out: How to minimize your time on facebook

4) Stay hydrated: This one is obvious. Water is good for you. It is easy to drink water, right? Just keep doing it and the benefits will add up. Still reaching for that soda as you read this blog? See what the American Heart Association has to say.

5) Add to that step count: Sedentary behavior is bad. Period. And just hitting the gym is not enough. Keep moving every 30 mins to an hour. May we suggest Move Hotspots to help you with this habit?

6) Eat better: Maybe start with something simple like including greens with every lunch meal. Better still, pack your own lunch. Need inspiration? Check these recipes out.

7) Try desk-exercises: Stretch, relax, rotate, flex, bend...you get it. All in the space of your cubicle. Keep flexible.

8) Take the stairs: Why would you not? It is right there by the elevator. Did you know that taking the stairs can even improve your immune system? Check this out.

9) Make friends: Cause work and life is better and fun with friends. We spend a majority of our lives at work. Meaningful relationships can up the happiness quotient. This article summarizes it well: Why having friends at work is so important.

10) Re-center: It is important to make a habit of re-centering everyday. Remember your life goals, your vision, your dreams and reflect on how you are making progress towards it everyday.

Are there other habits you practice through your work day? Drop us a note at info@quantifiedhabits.com or comment below.
 

5 innovative ideas to engage your employees

A Gallup survey found that a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. Many companies are experiencing a crisis of engagement and aren't aware of it. It doesn't have to be this way. Try these innovation ideas to engage your employees:

1) Push for transparency: TinyPulse's employee engagement survey found that the No. 1 contributor to employee happiness is transparency. - See more here. That means communicating clearly across levels, minimizing back channel information networks, having an open door culture to name a few.

Engaging your employees

Engaging your employees

2) Recognize your employees especially when it is not appraisal season: We all like surprises. Remember that surprise birthday party you had as a kid? Be in-the-moment. As Meghan Biro says - "Catch people doing exemplary work and acknowledge their efforts.  Don’t be knee-jerk – showing up for work on time does not count in most cases. Be specific, descriptive and measured."

3) Use your wellness program to engage: Wellness programs should not be run for the sake of checking the box. They are a great way of telling your employees you care. Move Hotspots, for instance allow you to communicate culture, health information and wellness tips through a workday. Don't settle for 25% engagement in your programs. And logging into the portal once does not count as engagement!

MOVE Hotspots

MOVE Hotspots

4) Speak about your company's purpose: A company's purpose is beyond the sales line. Your employees should A) Know your company's purpose and B) Resonate with it. Take the example of Medix in this article by Paul Keegan. Medix had an employee engagement problem. After trying multiple strategies, they realized that discovering the company's core purpose had a dramatic effect. Medix already had a profound purpose: to find jobs for people in an uncertain economy. The company came up with a rallying cry, "Positively Impacting Lives," and created a goal of helping 20,000 people land employment. The new mantra and related team-building exercises, like group-assembling a bicycle, yielded striking results: Turnover dropped, productivity increased, and employee surveys showed engagement levels rose.

5) Share the spotlight: Isn't it odd that when you read case studies and interviews about companies, it is often about the C-level or senior staff. Share the credit. It goes a long way even compared to monetary rewards. Something simple like an employee spotlight can have a huge impact. Check this out for an example.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement

Tell us what you think and add your own innovative ideas in the comments section.

 

People Magazine Or Your Wellness Portal?

New platforms for employee engagement

New platforms for employee engagement

Here is a simple question. If you had 5 mins to spare and you had the option of browsing through People magazine vs. your company's wellness portal - what would you choose? You know the answer but you are probably defending your portal in your mind saying -'People magazine is not going to get me healthy!'. And here are some other things we've heard in defense of the portal:

We've gone mobile: That is great but is your portal 'on mobile' interesting? And have you tracked how many of your employees actually access your portal on the mobile, and not just login once at the start? 
Our portal has social features: Wonderful. But don't you need traffic first before people can start chatting and being social? Also, are your employees truly going to give up Facebook to be social on the wellness portal?
We've given our portal a new look and feel: This is important. A portal that looks like it is 30 years old is not going to be appealing. But bright colors and fancy fonts will hold attention only this long..

So here is our take in a nutshell:

Think beyond your portal: The millennials have it right here. Make your wellness information accessible quickly and easily - think Twitter, Vine videos, gifs ... "information snackables" that communicate in 30 seconds or less

Are you saying something interesting?: We all have short attention spans and that cat video is vying for your employee's attention. It is about engaging your employees and thinking of them as your wellness customers. Your wellness information has to be presented in an engaging and fun format.

                               Get rid of this. Seriously, whats with the apples? They're everywhere!

                               Get rid of this. Seriously, whats with the apples? They're everywhere!

Question the fundamentals: Do you really need a portal? Stop a minute and re-evaluate the objectives you are achieving with your portal. The budget you offset from this spend can be used towards wellness initiatives that are truly useful to your employees.

Thoughts? Comment here or email us at info@quantifiedhabits.com

Is technology driving you deeper into debt?

Here's a simple experiment for you the next time you go shopping for clothes or electronics. Instead of paying for your purchase by simply swiping your credit card - how about writing out a check, or better yet - paying by cash (I know we rarely carry cash these days ... but thats part of the point ... keep reading).

Play the scenario out as a thought experiment in your head - and rank the option that would make you feel the most "pain" for having spent the money? If you're like most people - it would be cash, then check and then the credit card.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/your-money/credit-cards-encourages-extra-spending-as-the-cash-habit-fades-away.html

This is not surprising at all considering that one of the key levers a designer can pull towards making a habit sticky is to remove the "friction" in the process. The more frictionless the behavior - the more easier it is to make this a habit. Consider all the little things that have been introduced to influence your shopping habits over time:

1. Cash and Checks gave way to Cards. 

2. Cards are giving way to NFC taps (Apple Pay is an example of this). Why mess around with cards when you can have everything on your phone?

3. Your browser now stores all your card information - auto complete quickly reduces the time for you to have second thoughts about your purchase.

4. Even better - consider one-click purchasing and dash buttons - which allow you to purchase anything you want with just the push of a button. The button's jumped out of the screen and into the physical world.* 

Your shopping is so much easier. You've got everything at the push of a button. You're in charge!

 

Or are you?

Sure, as an engineer/designer/ creative/ business professional you're probably not too stressed about debt - but what about the average consumer who's juggling multiple jobs - being crushed under a mountain of debt? 

How can you help build products that help users take back control? Leave us your thoughts in the comments! 

* What's next? Tiny drones that follow you around with a little shopping cart? 

Breaking Bad: Habits

Habit formation

Habit formation

Have you wondered why breaking a bad habit is so difficult? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power Of Habit, describes a cookie-eating habit that he wanted to break. 

Every day, Duhigg says, he found himself going to the cafeteria to buy a chocolate chip cookie. As he got more mindful of this habit, Duhigg discovered his cookie craving hit about 3 and 3.30 in the afternoon. He also figured out that every afternoon he'd buy a cookie and talk to his colleagues in the cafeteria. As he thought more about this habit, he realized that what was actually driving his habit was not the cookie itself but the chance to socialize! And just like that, the cookie could be done away with. Here him talk about his experience here: https://youtu.be/W1eYrhGeffc

Have you stopped to think about 1 habit you'd like to break? And what truly, is the motivation, that causes you to repeat the habit? Too much coffee, too much stress, too much vending machine junk food? Mindfulness can go a long way. Our first  product - move hotspots  help you make a habit of taking breaks from work. Drop us a note if you'd like to try them out at your workplace!

#MILLENNIALS: WHAT DO THEY THINK OF YOUR WELLNESS PROGRAM?

Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Adults between the ages of 18-34 now make up one in three American workers, Pew reports. The estimated 53.5 million millennials currently in the work force are only expected to grow as millennials currently enrolled in college graduate and begin working.

Millennials think about their health differently as compared to older generations.

  1. Millennials think about benefits at work beyond tradition definitions of benefit plans. They think less about work / life balance and more about work / life integration. They want work to be fun, meaningful and contributing to a larger sense of purpose.
  2. Millennials engage with health on their own terms. They expect health experiences to be personalized and engaging.

  3. Millennials are proactive about health and place a lot of emphasis not only on physical health but also mental health. They are more likely to try out new health programs and depend more on themselves versus a doctor for preventative care.

  4. Millennials integrate technology with health and wellness. They aren’t just technology dependent, they are savvy and want to access information on demand. This generation will question, gather information and arrive at their own conclusions.

  5. Millennials are information consumers. They have large social networks and collect their health information through their networks and through the internet. Traditional approaches to disseminating information through websites such as payer portals will increasingly become less effective given that this generation places less emphasis on consuming content through static mediums.

  6. Millennials use their mobile phones extensively to access information. They are all about quick bite-size content that takes little effort to consume.

So what does this mean for wellness?

That portal where you house your wellness tips will likely see fewer eyeballs. How about the monthly health newsletter? Odds are the millennial generation never reads it. The new wellness challenge you are launching may see very low participation unless it is personalized towards the millennial generation. Simply put, it means that we need re-evaluate traditional methods of wellness promotion in the workplace and we must re-design wellness for the millennial.

What can you do as a company?

  1. Take a critical look at your wellness programs and consider redesigning. Is that 20% engagement number truly acceptable? Are your programs truly fun or do they merely rehash the same old wellness information? Do you really promote health by handing out pedometers that are stashed away in a drawer somewhere after month 1? How would you rate your programs on personalization?
  2. Treat millennials as your primary wellness customers. Would you develop or offer a product without understanding your customer? It is a recipe for failure. Assess the needs of the millennial and factor them in deciding your next wellness endeavor.

  3. Make it fun, actionable and connect wellness to more than just health but their individual purpose. Whether we are millennials or any other generation, all of us are essentially human. All of us like to be engaged and all of us like to have fun. Are step counts and calorie trackers truly actionable? Do they bring a smile to your face?

Re-designing wellness for the millennial is a chance to rethink and innovate preventive healthcare. Let's use this opportunity to make our wellness programs truly effective, innovative and essentially human.

Is your company interested in tailoring wellness for the millennial? We might have some ideas for you. Write to us at: info@quantifiedhabits.com

 

Objectivity and Habit

AdobeStock_94720310.jpeg

It’s believed that successful people maintain good habits that facilitate their success. However, it may not be the habit alone that helps ensure success. There is extreme power in the ability to maintain contextual objectivity. The power of a habit is that it is often a subconscious behavior, something done with little thought or strain on will power. It frees our brains to be able to multi-task and live in our environment. Once formed, a habit becomes a natural occurrence, but not all habits are good and habits that once served us well may become detrimental to continued success.

Starting or stopping a habit requires a great deal of objectivity and being personally objective is difficult when we live in the contexts of our environments, feelings, relationships, social interactions, etc. If we see habits as a skill then we have to be able to objectively assess not only where we are, but where we want to be. We want habits to be purposeful, not just a series of actions and reactions, but to do so, we have to remain objective. We have to practice objectivity. One way to practice this difficult task of being personally introspective and purposeful with habits is to occasionally stop ourselves and ask WHY? Just three letters W-H- Y.

Asking why you do what you do, when you are doing it is extremely critical to ensuring your habits are aligned with your purpose. Let’s use an example of a behavior I’m doing right now, drinking a cup of coffee, specifically a cappuccino? Why am I drinking this coffee? I’ll make a list of my first answer and then a deeper reflection in parentheses:

I like it. (But do I really? I have some steamed milk, a packet of raw sugar in it in order to drink it. Is it the coffee I really like or the milk and sugar?)

I need it. (Why do I need it? Is it the caffeine? Am I not getting enough sleep? Have I formed a dependency that simply by getting another 30-minutes of sleep each night might fix?)

It gives me something to do. (It’s a routine of making coffee that helps me start the day, it’s a habit. I’m sure there’s something else I could do with this time that would help me start the day. I also like hanging out at coffee shops, but is it the coffee or the people I’m there with?)

It’s socially cool. (I want to blend in with the coffee drinking crowd. I have a great coffee mug I like to show off. I find that it’s socially rewarding to hang at a coffee shop).

This list could go on, but this little exercise of asking WHY of just one of my habits, drinking coffee, forced me to consider the myriad of reasons I drink coffee. It’s not to say that any one of these reasons is wrong or right. This exercise forced me to be think deeply about a behavior and consider whether any of the reasons I’m doing this behavior contradicts with who I want to be, where I want to go, or takes me away from my life’s goals. Asking why, forces a level of personal objectivity, but it only works if you are willing to take a few moments to be honest with yourself. In my case, my coffee drinking may be a habit born of poor sleep patterns and social practice that I’ve assimilated as a value and practice.

If you want your habits to be On Purpose with you, your life and your goals, you have to be able and willing to do the work it takes to ask yourself why you do what you do. And not just ask whey, but to analyze not just actions, but the underlying drivers and motivations. If you aren’t good at being objective, you can always ask a friend or loved one to help you…hopefully they can be lovingly objective. : )

if you are trying to live On Purpose, be willing to openly, honestly and introspectively consider your behaviors and actions. Even the little habits can reveal some amazing insights. Consider what you working to accomplish and objectively explore and create some new behaviors that will help you achieve your goals. Practice these behaviors until they become a habit. But don’t forget to occasionally stop and evaluate your habits to ensure they are still aligned with your purpose.